Game of Thrones: 9 events which actually happened in history


The world of Game of Thrones is a vast and terrifying place. The popular fantasy series, which is well known for its unflinching portrayal of violence in this incredibly brutal world, doesn't shy away from shocking its viewers with storylines that you would consider to never actually be possible in the real world. However, some of the events from Game of Thrones are actually very similar to incidents in history. From bloodthirsty boy kings to the Red Wedding, here are the events which actually happened in history…

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The Red Wedding

George himself has revealed that the Red Wedding, where (spoiler alert!) several of the main Stark character were killed at a nuptials feast, was inspired by real events in Scottish history, one being a case called 'The Black Dinner'. George explained: "The king of Scotland was fighting the Black Douglas clan. He reached out to make peace. He offered the young Earl of Douglas safe passage. He came to Edinburgh Castle and had a great feast... They dragged them out and put them to death in the courtyard." He added: "No matter how much I make up, there's stuff in history that's just as bad, or worse."

Daenerys Targaryen

Many people have pointed out the clear similarities between the Mother of Dragons, Daenerys Targaryen, and the legendary ruler Cleopatra. Both known for their beauty and intelligence, they are foreign rulers and come from a line of siblings marrying each other to keep bloodlines pure, with Cleopatra marrying her younger brother, Ptolemy XIII.

King Joffrey

George RR Martin has revealed that King Joffrey's horrifying death in season four was inspired y the death of Prince Eustace is 1153. The boy Prince, who was known for robbing lands and introducing high taxes, had looted a monastery and, upon eating the food taken, choked and died. To this day it is unknown whether the food was poisoned or not, but either way it sounds a lot like Joffrey's grisly end!

The Wall

There might be nothing like the gargantuan ice Wall that separates the North in real life, but George has revealed it was inspired by Hadrian's Wall. In an interview back in 2010 with Sffworld, he said: "I stood on Hadrian's Wall and tried to imagine what it would be like to be a Roman soldier sent here from Italy or Antioch. To stand here, to gaze off into the distance, not knowing what might emerge from the forest. Of course fantasy is the stuff of bright colours and being larger than real life, so my Wall is bigger and considerably longer and more magical. And, of course, what lies beyond it has to be more than just Scots."

Starks vs Lannisters

The War of the Roses, a historical series of war between the Houses of Lancaster and York are integral to the main storyline of Game of Thrones, in which the Starks and the Lannisters are pitted against each other. While fans have suggested various parallels to the show and the war, George has denied these claims, saying: "There's really no one-for-one character-for-character correspondence. I like to use history to flavour my fantasy, to add texture and verisimilitude, but simply rewriting history with the names changed has no appeal for me."

Khal Drogo and the Dothraki

The horse lords who live beyond the Narrow Sea could have been inspired by the Mongols, a nomadic race of people who were led by 'Khans', with Genghis Khan being perhaps their most famous leader.


Petyr Baelish AKA Littlefinger is a man with no notable family name, who went from strength-to-strength, rising up through the political ranks until he had a place on the Small Council. This rise to power sounds a lot like Thomas Cromwell, who was King Henry VIII's chief minister until he made a disastrous move by arranging an unhappy marriage between Henry and Anne of Cleves. That sounds pretty familiar as well!


In the show, wildfire is mystical, green, and can conveniently wipe out an entire city, but despite that it sounds a lot like Greek Fire, which was used by the Greeks against invading armies and their ships when they tried to invade Constantinople. Its use in naval battles is particularly relevant to Game of Thrones, as Tyrion uses wildfire to destroy Stannis's fleet during the Battle of the Blackwater.  

Battle of the Bastards

The incredible fight scene in season six, episode nine of the hit show was revealed to have been inspired by history. Showrunner David Benioff said: "We went back to the Roman fight against the Carthaginians in the Battle of Cannae where the Romans got caught in an encirclement by Hannibal and just slaughtered to the man. We used that as our model", before adding: "The 'Battle of the Bastards' becomes incredibly compact. All these men, all these combatants, crammed into this incredibly tight space on the battlefield. You read accounts of the battles in the Civil War where the bodies were piled so thick it was actually an obstruction on the battlefield"

Have you ever thought about your alligiances if you lived in Westeros? Take our quiz to find out which House you should belong to! 

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